Rope Bondage as Art: Morpheous Ties Up Nuit Blanche

Art takes to the streets of Toronto on Saturday October 1 with the annual visual explosion that is Nuit Blanche. Various different forms will be seen through the city, but none will be more sexy or challenging than Morpheous' Bondage Extravaganza. Bringing the beauty of rope bondage to the wider public for a 5th straight year, Morpheous challenges the idea of art and sexuality with stunning results.

Sexlife Canada spoke with Morpheous about the upcoming event and how people view and receive models tied up.

SLC: What inspired you to bring rope bondage to Nuit Blanche?
M: On the very first Nuit Blanche Toronto had ever hosted, I was struck by the inspiring nature of art existing outside of gallery spaces and in the public sphere. Art that didn’t fit into a prescribed “box” of “this is art” or that is “not”. Removing it from the context of a gallery space liberates art and it becomes more of an expression of human experience rather than a commodity. I knew that I wanted to be part of an evening that showcased new and inventive art and the following year I arranged for a storefront window, invited a few of my friends to come out and let me tie them up for the passing audience. Ultimately my passion for the beauty in connection of rope (beyond it's aesthetic beauty) is what unites me and many other people who are also creating Shibari or “Erotic Rope Art” all year long. Typically while much of what we do is in private spaces and in our homes, I revel in being able to bring this thing we have so much passion for to the masses. Things they've seen glimpses of in the media, on TV, in movies. A connection that caught their eye in a crowd that they didn't understand; we’re shining a light on a lot of the intangible things that people don't talk about; relationship dynamics, beauty in vulnerability, sex that doesn't implicate genitals. This year’s event is the largest ever with over 80 riggers (the people who do the tying) and bunnies (the ones that get tied up) from across the world. We have performers coming in from across Canada, the U.S. and from Europe. Every single person involved in our event is part of the Rope Bondage community. We also have a team of DJ's, videographers, photographers, and security staff in addition to our performers. We are thrilled to have become the world’s largest public bondage event. It is free to the public and for the very first time we are live web streaming it for people around the world to watch (free!) They can go to my website www.lordmorpheous.com and find the video streaming link there the night of the event.

SLC: What are some of the reactions you get throughout the night?
M: Facination, curiosity and enthrallment. We never have people walk in and then turn around and leave. Understand that the venues we have always operated out of have large street level windows and the line up to get in can take a little while, so those in line know exactly what they are coming into the venue for. Sometimes new people get a little uncomfortable and the amazing thing is that most of those people who were uncomfortable at my event 3 yrs ago have come back ever since to pique their curiosity. There is no time limit to how long someone can stay at my event. If someone wants to park themselves and watch for 5 hrs straight they are welcome to do so. We believe in inclusivity and showcasing our talents as erotic rope artists. We also have literature for various kink groups around Southern Ontario and sometimes those who hang around for hours, pop up at a munch a month down the road. We like to think we are a gateway for opening up a dialog to BDSM and someone’s chance to explore.

SLC: Do these reactions change over the course of the night?
M: About 4 yrs ago I had someone come and bang on my window, demanding that “I put the poor girl down”—a lovely friend of mine who was really getting into a beautiful head space with being tied. He didn’t understand the context in which the performance was happening until I freed one of my model’s hands, she flipped him the bird and said “stop fucking up my scene dude” LOL. He stayed around and long after she came down he came over to apologize since other members of the community who happened to be there filled him in on what was happening and how it was unfolding.

SLC: Do you work on specific, new ties for each Nuit Blanche?
M: Every year I have something new up my sleeve for my personal performances! I want to stress that all of our performers are bringing their A game to the table at the event. People have worked very hard on new and interesting and exciting ties that they want to show off. I believe in healthy competition on the rigging floor and we keep raising the bar higher to help our form of art evolve and elevate itself. The ties I was using 5 yrs ago wouldn’t even get me a spot on the dance floor this year, so to speak LOL. I get a chance to travel and teach and no matter where I am or where I have gone to, I always manage to bring a little part of those travels back to my own rigging practice. New techniques and methods are always being developed and I am excited so many people volunteer their time and expense to fly in to be a part of this showcase evening.

SLC: Who are some of the performers involved this year?
M: Here is just a sampling of our riggers and bunnies:

  • Bunnies:

      kittehlicious, ve-ra, doll, lotuslily. Mad_Scientist, Archean, Allyss, Lyarah, Sughra, obi, Ohhh, jacki, yggdrasil,
      lily_p, sabbySK, CynthiaJade, sugar, PupPug, Lola84, StellaPervasa, IvanRathwell, LadySeraph, Sparkly,
      Axequeen, babygap, Amu, Buttcheesesoup, Littlerose.

  • Riggers:

     Morpheous, LotusLily, Cannon, KnotNice, GMHedon, PeterClaver, SpeedyRopeGuy, DonSir, MaillerPhong,
     Serenity9, Tho4ns, Elwood, MrMattLV, Ruairidh, JD-66, Dunter, Ve-ra, RoughMercies, Retrodeviant,TrialSinner,
     Eyeofthestorm, DommyDarko, BenjaminHart, XtraspecialTom, Archean

SLC: What would you say to someone who suggests this is just sex for spectacle and that it isn't art?
M: For thousands of years, humankind has sought to represent the human form through sculpture. All the way back past antiquity to the upper Paleolithic period, right down through the Greek and Roman periods and up to contemporary times. There are examples of stone carvings coming out of northern Russia nowadays that date back 22,000yrs that depict bound bodies. To tie and restrain someone erotically is hardwired into our sexuality regardless if people want to admit it or not. Instead of depicting a sculpture of a bound person, what could be more perfect than using the body itself? This event incorporates performance, installation and media arts all wrapped up into one amazing evening. We are honoring the past through art history and seeking new adventures in the future for our creation.

Check out Morpheous' Bondage Extravaganza as part of Nuit Blanche, October 1 from 7pm to 7am at 442 Dufferin St., Toronto.

 

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